And the experience was a gratifying one for all of us who had worked so hard to get John Shear this recognition, something that he so obviously deserved. The man who put everything he had on the line to save the life a small girl from the slashing hooves of a runaway thoroughbred racehorse was somehow not immediately embraced by the Prom Committee. It took the strongly voiced support of 100's of his fellow Sierra Madreans to get them to finally see the light.
Google the name of John Shear and you will come across literally hundreds and hundreds of articles detailing John's heroism at Santa Anita that fateful day a few short months back. He might be our Hometown Hero, but he is also one to the rest of the world as well.
We figured that had John been shut out of the parade due to someone's unfortunate personal political agenda, he would still have been a part of it all as MaryAnn MacGillivray's guest in her car. The sign honoring him would have read "John Shear: The Peoples' Choice," an equally fitting one for a man who had seized the imaginations and won the hearts of so many in this town. And judging by the spontaneous applause and calls from well-wishers thanking him for being a hero yesterday, he would have still easily won the crowd without any official sanction.
The entire mile and a half ride down Sierra Madre Boulevard was filmed by Joe Chili from Horse Racing TV (click here). A documentary film for HRTV has been in the works for several months now, with noted producer Amy Zimmerman pulling it all together. Amy has produced quite a few biographical documentaries, particularly for television. And her current project is to celebrate the achievements of John Shear. The finished product will be released as a highly publicized feature on HRTV, where we will all get to check it out when it is released this fall.
And who knows? If you were at the parade yesterday, and you cheered loudly enough, you could very well end up being a part of it as well. According to Joe Chili the portion filmed here in Sierra Madre will be an important segment of this filmed biography of John's life. Which is only fitting for the hometown that stood up to celebrate the hero who is also one of their own.
Urban Wildlife Nature 911
You might remember Cam Stone as one of the leaders in the fight to save the Arcadia Woodlands. Cam rallied hundreds of people in the fight to save an ancient oak and sycamore woodland from Mike Antonovich's war on wildlife, and while this effort failed in the end, it did help to create a network of concerned individuals, news organizations and blogs such as this one. All of whom hope to be able to stop the next acts of wanton destruction by the County of Los Angeles and the disingenuous crooks who run it.
Yesterday Cam Stone sent out an "Urban Wildlife Nature 911" as it seems Antonovich and his DPW have returned to the scene of their crime at the Arcadia Woodlands in order to further expand the already considerable destruction there. Here is what Cam has to say:
I just returned from a picture taking excursion into the Flood Control area in Arcadia. I discovered the destruction yesterday while walking my dog. Many thanks to Lori Paul who received a dispirited call from me yesterday while I was viewing the destruction and wrote down the description of what I was seeing. This is another example of the DPW's scorched earth policies.
The area in question is less than 1/2 mile from the former Arcadia Woodlands, and is to the north and west of the Santa Anita Debris Basin. I spoke to a neighbor whose yard backs up to the area and he said that the clearance crews were in working last Friday and Saturday. He said that this is the first time in at least 25 years that this area has been cleared. Two very large pine trees were cut down immediately next to his backyard fence.
I have no problem with fire clearance if it is done properly. First of all, this is a job for trained crews using hand tools, not heavy grading equipment. Cutting down 10-15 mature shade trees actually exacerbates the problem promoting the growth of non-native grasses and weeds that will turn into fuel much earlier in the season.
The scraping and destruction of large patches of native and non-native Prickly Pear is unconscionable. Not only dies it not burn and provides a fire barrier, but it also provides habitat for many rare species. A large patch of native Prickly Pear still exists at the northern edge of the destroyed area. I am positive that this patch will be the first thing to be scraped tomorrow morning (7/5) when the crews return to work. One of the pictures that I have posted (click here) shows what I believe to be an active fox den right in the middle of it.
If you can do nothing else PLEASE don't let them kill these foxes!
I believe that the clearance crews will return tomorrow to clear out the remaining area on the west side of the stream bed. About 1/3 of a mile of this access road (which ends at Wilderness Park) has not yet been cleared. This section of the road is less than 50 feet from the currently flowing stream coming out of the Big Santa Anita Canyon. DF&G should definitely have a look at this site before any further work is done!
Anyone who was at yesterday's parade might have noticed L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich waving from his car in the practiced politico style. Trying to convince everyone here of his concern for Sierra Madre. Or at least its votes. While just next door in Arcadia he is trying to completely wipe from the face of the earth what little remains of once was one of the few wild places left in the County.
If people had only known what this guy has done to us. Who knows, instead of disinterestedly waving back they might have thrown acorns at him instead.